(Image source from: Vanity Fair)
Kamala Harris, 54, the first Indian origin Senator has been racially targeted online of her identity as "not an American-Black", according to media reports.
Harris, one of the top Democrats eyeing the White House in the 2020 presidential election, was born in the United States to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who were both immigrants.
The Senator from California has directly confronted critics before who have questioned her black heritage.
According to a CNN report, Harris was the target of the birtherism-like attack, the latest jabs to the racism faced by former President Barack Obama.
"Birtherism" was a movement that denied Obama was a natural-born U.S. citizen, implying he was ineligible to be the president. The movement promoted by some Republicans, including President Donald Trump before he assumed the presidency.
"Kamala Harris is 'not' an American-Black. She is half-Indian and half-Jamaican," the critic, who identified as African-American, tweeted on Thursday.
"I'm so sick of people robbing American-Blacks (like myself) of our history. It's disgusting. Now using it for debate time at #DemDebate2? These are my people, not her people. Freaking disgusting," the critic tweeted.
Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican.— Ali Alexander (@ali) June 28, 2019
I'm so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It's disgusting. Now using it for debate time at #DemDebate2?
These are my people not her people.
The viral tweet by right-wing personality Ali Alexander has also gone by the name Ali Akbar, The New York Times reported.
The tweet was, however, re-tweeted by President Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.
Donald Trump, a valuable Republican surrogate as his father faces a bruising 2020 race, posted the tweet of unverified information, then asked his more than three million followers, "Is this true? Wow," the report added.
"Don's tweet was simply him asking if it was true that Kamala Harris was half-Indian because it's not something he had ever heard before," said the spokesman, Andy Surabian, "and once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet, he quickly deleted it."
Harris officially launched her campaign in January for the U.S. presidential election next year.
If elected, Harris would create history by becoming the first woman in the White House.
The campaign communications director for Harris, Lily Adams dismissed the attack, explaining that people, including Trump, used similar rhetoric to question Obama's place of birth. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.
"This is the same type of racist attack his father used to attack Barack Obama," Adams told CNN. "It didn't work then and it won't work now," he said.
Harris has often resisted sharing her personal background on the campaign trail. But, during a debate on Thursday, she confronted former Vice-President Joe Biden about his former times opposing busing and said she herself had been bused to a public school.
Biden, however, defended Harris on Saturday, saying in a tweet that "racism has no place in America."
"The same forces of hatred rooted in 'birtherism' that questioned @BarackObama's American citizenship, even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris," Biden said. "It's disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it," Biden said.
The same forces of hatred rooted in 'birtherism' that questioned @BarackObama's American citizenship, and even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it. Racism has no place in America.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 29, 2019
Among the 2020 Democratic hopefuls, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared to be the first on Saturday to speak for Harris.
"The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist and ugly," Warren tweeted. "We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it's within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks," Warren said.
The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist and ugly. We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 29, 2019
Other Democrats on the campaign trail chimed in.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee accused the family of Donald Trump of "peddling birtherism," an apparent reference to the president's attacks against Obama.
The U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, also compared the online attacks claiming Kamala Harris is not a black American since her father is Jamaican, to "birtherism," whose proponents claimed falsely that Obama was born in Kenya.
"The attack on @KamalaHarris is racist and we can't allow it to go unchecked," Ryan tweeted. "We have a responsibility to call out this birtherism and the continued spread of misinformation."
The attack on @KamalaHarris is racist and we can't allow it to go unchecked. We have a responsibility to call out this birtherism and the continued spread of misinformation.— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) June 29, 2019
Indian Americans constitute 1 percent of the American population and are one of the fastest growing minorities in the country.
By Sowmya Sangam